Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted he is looking for a top-class holding midfielder as the transfer window draws to a close. The Frenchman also revealed why he pulled out of the race to sign Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin.
The Gunners were understood to be in the driving seat in the race for the Turkish playmaker but Wenger decided against a deal, allowing Liverpool to sign the 23-year-old on a season-long loan. Wenger has now revealed he wanted a purely defensive midfielder, after selling Alex Song to Barcelona.
"If we wanted to sign Sahin, we would have done it. Sahin is a quality player but he is not a purely defensive midfielder. We have Jack Wilshere coming back and he is a similar type of player," The Sun quoted Wenger as saying.
The manager also pointed out that former Borussia Dortmund captain Sahin wanted regular starts, something Wenger felt unable to guarantee, with Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey, Andrei Arshavin and Francis Coquelin all competing for the three central midfield spots in the Gunners' 4-2-3-1 formation.
"I see Sahin more in the attacking department - not in a deep midfield role. And of course, Sahin wants to play. He wants to join a club where he will play [every week]. We have nine midfielders and they all need a chance to play," the Daily Mail quoted the 62-year-old as saying.
Wenger also said that although he did have a number of options for the deep-lying playmaker's role, he would loosen his purse strings only if a top quality anchorman became available in the last week of the transfer window.
"If someone really top, top class comes up... I do not need to buy an average midfielder. If someone top, top class turns up, completely defensive, we will consider it. Arteta can play deeper - the kind of [Andrea] Pirlo role - and we have Diaby who is a very strong defensive player. We have Coquelin who is also doing very well. I've played many games with Diaby and Wilshere [in midfield] and they were very efficient," Wenger told the club's official website.